RMU faculty get to show off work in Wheatley Gallery


Photo credit: Morgan Torchia

Olivia Bello

Since its opening in 2012, the Wheatley Center Gallery has hosted a wide variety of art exhibits ranging from students to faculty to third party artists bringing their collections to Robert Morris University for various shows.

This show, in particular, separates itself from the rest because it is the first faculty show, since the gallery’s opening, that has been opened up to both part-time and full-time faculty to display their work.

The co-chairpeople of the exhibit, Professor Christine Holtz and Professor Andrew Ames, began reaching out to media arts faculty members a few months ago with an extended invitation to submit projects that they were working on.

According to Professor Michael DiLauro, who contributed raw photographs of the death of his father and stepdaughter, this show gave the contributors more creative freedom than they were given in the past since there was not an adjudication portion of the submission process.

“We were basically sent a memo reaching out about the gallery, and if we wanted to participate, we could submit what we were working on,” said DiLauro. “If our pieces fit size-wise within the confines of the gallery then they were put in.”

Holtz, who was also a contributor in addition to being a chairperson, said that this exhibition sets itself apart from previous ones due to the fact that the media chosen was so rich and diverse.

“I think this show is so interesting, because it has such depth and breath to what is happening in the world of art, both traditional like paintings and nontraditional with photo and video documentaries,” said Holtz.

“This shows that our faculty members do more than just teach classes,” said Holtz. “It shows that we are active in our fields, and we make work, and we exhibit it. And I think that’s important for students to see.”

Another contributor for the faculty exhibit was Professor Ferris Crane, who teaches in the graphic design concentration of the media arts department.

Crane said that her favorite part of the exhibit was not that she was featured, but that she had the chance to soak in all of the work her colleagues were doing outside of their day to day university positions. This was Crane’s first time participating in one of the faculty shows.

“I chose to participate in this one because it was a total faculty show,” said Crane. “And the other shows have been more pointed towards certain subject matter or certain topics that did not encompass everyone’s field of study.”

Another professor involved in the show was Suzanne Watters, who has not submitted her work for one of the exhibits since the first show in 2012.

“My work in the faculty show is a series of eight pieces entitled ‘In His Hand.’ I think that it stands out, because Andrew and Christine made the choice to display each 12″x12″ wooden square from floor to ceiling in a vertical line,” said Watters. “This is really unique and eye-catching.”

“It compliments the other faculty work in simple ways like mirroring the square forms or the colorful images in the show,” said Watters. “I think that my mixed media collages are just one small part of a highly diverse and very strong showcasing of photography, interactive web and game design, graphic design, film and video, scholarly writing, sculpting, painting, performance and interdisciplinary.”

The show will run until Feb. 27, and the gallery is open to the public Tuesday, Wednesday and Friday from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m., and Thursdays from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m.